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Michigan primary care docs have room for new patients, study says

Alex Proimos

Most Michigan patients should be able to access primary care doctors - even though the Affordable Care Act means more people are likely looking for appointments.

Nine out of ten Michigan primary care doctors say they have capacity for new patients. And almost two-thirds say they are accepting new Medicaid patients.  That's according to a 2014 survey conducted by the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation.

"The survey shows that physicians across the state can take on more patients, enabling greater access to health care," said Marianne Udow-Phillips, director of CHRT. "This is great news for Michigan residents with the Healthy Michigan coverage as well as those with private coverage."

Udow-Phillips said, "Over the past two years we've found that there's been a 19 percent increase in the percentage of primary care physicians that are taking new Medicaid patients." She said this is because payments to doctors for Medicaid patients have gone up to about the same level as Medicare patients.

Udow-Phillips said that people's use of health care services has moderated "and that's freed up space in many physicians' practices for taking new patients."  The recession and increased co-pays and deductibles are among the reasons people are going to the doctor less often, according to Udow-Phillips.

Virginia Gordan, Michigan Radio Newsroom